Building the World

February 19, 2015
by buildingtheworld
0 comments

Scale of Success: China

 

Great Wall of China. Image: wikimedia commons.

While Frank P. Davidson is considered by historians to be the founder of the field of macroengineering in 1984, today China is advancing large scale infrastructure. The nation that built the Great Wall must think big, because it is so big; large scale endeavors are now appearing with velocity as well as capacity. For example, the Dalian to Yantai Tunnel spanning the Bohai Strait, twice the length of the Channel Tunnel, planned as a rail link between China’s northern ports, would be the world’s longest underwater tunnel. And, the Grand Canal may soon become even grander: the $80 billion plan to bring water over 1,000 miles from the abundant south to the arid north may reach fruition in 2025, making that waterway, begun in 600 BCE, the longest continuous construction project in history. Should China celebrate this Spring Festival with an announcement of the Center for the Study of Macro?

David Baroza, “In China, Projects to make Great Wall Feel Small,” The New York Times, January 12, 2015.

Minnie Chan, “Plan to build world’s longest undersea tunnel from Dalian to Yantai,” South China Morning Post, July 11, 2013. http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1280386/china-plans-worlds-longest-undersea-tunnel

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

February 10, 2015
by buildingtheworld
0 comments

Open Bar(code)

Could transport link to transporting poetry? Image: wikimedia commons.

Take Line 4, when riding the Beijing metro; then, scan a barcode to access Chinese literature and philosophy. China’s National Library, cooperating with Beijing’s municipal government, will change the ten-tome selection monthly. Of course, barcode can transport to music, dance, drama, and other cultural expressions. To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the Channel Tunnel recently added wifi; might there be a special channel within? Shinkansen will soon upgrade to new efficiency; what may Japan create? What opportunities are inherent in public transportation to make readers of riders?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-30830472

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

October 27, 2014
by buildingtheworld
0 comments

Interconnectivity: Americas

 

Simon Bolivar. Image: wikimedia commons.

Should the Americas be interconnected; if so, in which ways? Simon Bolivar raised the issue in 1826; Bill Clinton continued the debate at 1994’s Summit of the Americas, as Nafta took a further step. In 2015, is it time to consider the Pan-American Highway , perhaps inspired by its original vision? Pan-American Railway reconnaissance surveys were completed in 1897, but in 1923, the 29, 800 mile route instead became a highway. Now, with magnetic levitation and tube train technology, envisioned by Frankel and Davidson, and recently by Tesla/SpaceX-founder Elon Musk, there is an opportunity. The most difficult part of large-scale infrastructure may be the securing of rights-of-way: in this case, already agreed. The route has never been completed, respecting the Darien Gap’s precious environment. But might an elevated tube train serve as flyover? On the ground, “La Carreterra Panamericana” could thus be preserved, and even enhanced by addition of a Sportsway inspired by Benton MacKaye’s Appalachian Trail. Summit of the Americas 2015 convenes in Panama; might Juan Carlos Varela propose a new vision? Will Bolivia, named after Simon Bolivar, lead the way to an environment of greater connectivity with Law 071, “Ley de Derechos de la Madre Tierra?”

Bolivia: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/apr/10/bolivia-enshrines-natural-worlds-rights

Musk’s Hyperloop: http://edition.cnn.com/2013/08/12/tech/innovation/hyperloop-fastest-trains/

Pan-AmericanRail:http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/69842/warren-kelchner/the-pan-american-highway

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

May 12, 2014
by buildingtheworld
0 comments

All Aboard, Africa

 

Eurostar: image, wikimedia commons.

May is a good month for trains. On May 10, 1869, the Transcontinental Railroad transformed the commercial and social interactions of the United States. The Channel Tunnel opened in May 1994. In May 2014, Africa announced a new railway line to run from Mombasa to Nairobi, eventually extending to Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and South Sudan. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta announced that a subsidiary of China Communications Construction Co will be the main contractor, with China’s Eximbank supporting 90% of the cost of the first phase. Will the world next welcome the “China-Russia-Canada-America” line, now reportedly in discussion in Beijing? What is the future of train transport?

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-27368877

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

May 7, 2014
by buildingtheworld
0 comments

New Channel in the Chunnel

 

Mobile Communications in the Chunnel. Image: wikimedia.

On May 6 (same opening day as the Eiffel Tower), Queen Elizabeth travelled by rail to Calais where a train carrying French President Mitterand awaited; the engines were positioned nose-to-nose in what some quipped was a tech galoche. Heads of State then chunneled to Folkestone for a twin ceremony on the British side. Thus, in 1994, was the Channel Tunnel “born.” On its 20th birthday, in 2014, Eurotunnel announced new kind of channel in the Chunnel: mobile telephone and internet communications.

For more:

http://www.eurotunnelgroup.com/uploadedFiles/assets-uk/Media/Press-Releases/2014-Press-Releases/060514.TelMobileTunnelSud.pdf

http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/may/6/newsid_2511000/2511653.stm

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

September 27, 2013
by buildingtheworld
0 comments

2020 Vision: Seikan and Chunnel

Seikan Tunnel, Japan. Courtesy of Wikimedia.

Japan will host the Olympics in 2020. What innovations might appear? Shinkansen, fast-trains developed and inaugurated for the Tokyo 1964 Games, proved to be successful — in safety and profitability — from the first day of operation. Japan’s Seikan Tunnel, completed for rail traffic in 1988, confirms the convenience of rapid rail; when the tunnel opened, it largely replaced ferryboats plying the Tsugaru Strait between Honshu and Hokkaido. Similarly, the Channel Tunnel, with debut of rail service in March 1995, improved travel time from London to Paris to just over two hours. Environmental benefits are among those recognized and valued. What will Japan offer in 2020? Japanese animation may introduce spokesperson Sakura Heiwa (http://tokyomewmewfanon.wikia.com/wiki/Sakura_Heiwa). Might new transport designed for the Olympics welcoming so many nations include representatives, images, art, music, and poetry promoting Peace?

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

September 9, 2013
by buildingtheworld
0 comments

Pipelines: Trans-Alaska and Beyond

 

What do you think of the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline? Image courtesy of senate.gov

When the Trans-Alaska Pipeline opened in 1977, 20,000 people had contributed to the project. Results were mixed: revenue benefit brought $900 million to Alaska’s economy but exploitation of the large petroleum deposits discovered in 1968 at Prudhoe Bay in Alaska’s North Slope were scene to the largest oil spill in United States history at that time: the Exxon Valdez released a flood of pollution with long-lasting effects. But Yoshihiro Kyotani, Japanese engineer and innovator, proposed that pipelines need not be filled with just oil. Why not float transoceanic pipelines as transport tubes for container shipping or vactrains? Along with the Channel Tunnel‘s Frank P. Davidson, Yoshihiro Kyotani designed tubetrains that may be the original version of Elon Musk’s 2013 Hyperloop. For more on Kyotani, please see: http://www.ieeeghn.org/wiki/index.php/Oral-History:Yoshihiro_Kyotani. But today all eyes are on a pipeline in the news: Keystone XL. It’s a complex issue; for more, visit http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2013/09/16/130916fa_fact_lizza?mbid=social_retweet. Then please return to our blog and let your voice be heard regarding pipelines transporting energy, or perhaps floating as a vactrain from Boston to Cadiz.

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

September 2, 2013
by buildingtheworld
0 comments

High-Speed Trains: Shinkansen to Hyperloop

Image by Elon Musk, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

When Japan pioneered high-speed trains, the new form of intercity transport was successful and profitable immediately. Why? Japan’s Shinkansen opened 10 days before the Tokyo Olympics in 1964, guaranteeing plenty of users and global publicity. Linking Paris and London via train service through the Channel Tunnel proved successful in 1995. With high-speed rail now common in Europe and other areas of the globe, is the world ready for Hyperloop? Will the 2020 Olympics, in Tokyo once again, debut transport innovations, perhaps patterned on Elon Musk’s 2013 proposal for passenger travel from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30 minutes? http://www.teslamotors.com/sites/default/files/blog_images/hyperloop-alpha.pdf

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

April 30, 2013
by buildingtheworld
0 comments

Singin’ in the Train

 

SFOT Red Train 4 by James Murray from Wikimedia Commons, at wikimedia.org.

Haunting whistle in the night, hypnotic rhythm of wheels on rail, panting acceleration of uphill runs breathed heavily by a 2860 engine, sigh of brakes — these were sounds quite new in the landscapes of the world until rather recently. The business of constructing rails was introduced in England in the seventeenth century. British mapmaker and engineer Captain John Montressor built the first American railway in Lewiston, New York in 1764. Nearly a century later, the Golden Spike was driven, completing the Transcontinental Railroad; it was now possible to traverse the country in 10 days instead of six months. The Transcontinental Railroad (1869), Canadian Pacific Railway (1885) and the Trans-Siberian Railway (1904) introduced soundscape to the landscape — the train whistle. Japan’s Shinkansen(1964) added a new note: each commuter station is announced by an electronic tune, composed to reflect the culture of the district. For a train soundscape, enjoy a listen (and look) via YouTube “Sound of Royal Hudson steam engine with O Canada horn ‘Good Times Express'” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQNQbuXjF2M). Finding music in the midst of urban sound, George Gershwin who included in “American in Paris” the blare of French taxi horns, might agree with Mozart: “Music is continuous, listening is intermittent.” As new trains, and cars, are developed, should musicians be on the team to create the ideal soundscape?

Creative Commons License
Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Skip to toolbar